Greg was organized, likable, and communicated well. He was promoted to director of finance after three years as a mid-level manager. When I interviewed his managers, they said that they always knew what to do because Greg excelled at clarifying objectives and expectations. Team meetings ran like a Swiss watch. His managers told me that Greg included them in decision-making and that he delegated well. He also fostered an environment of creativity and openness to change. What a leader! But then…
The economy worsened and the CEO demanded more productivity. That’s when cracks in Greg's leadership armor began to show. Three of his middle managers failed to perform under the increased pressure. They missed project deadlines, were unresponsive to their colleagues service needs, and failed to engage their own team members in dealing with the difficult times. Complaints about poor leadership from their own front-line supervisors escalated to Greg's deaf ears. Employee morale plummeted and turnover skyrocketed. Craig finally counseled his three managers, but they didn’t improve because he failed to hold them accountable for implementing an improvement plan. A year after Greg was promoted... he was fired.
Are You Ever Strong to a Fault?
Greg’s problem was “lopsided leadership” – the tendency to overuse a strength (i.e., to be strong to a fault), especially under stress. Leaders who over-focus on their strongest style(s) are like muscle-bound bodybuilders who don’t stretch. They’re inflexible, rigid, and unable to adapt to the stress of change. How often does this happen to you when you’re under pressure?
In his book, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman states, “It’s a world that demands constant adjustment and does not tolerate leaders who are unable or unwilling to build up their weak muscles—or who overuse their strong muscles.”
Based on my review of hundreds of studies that included more than 171, 000 leaders, I discovered that knowing or relying on your strengths is not enough anymore. What got you here won’t get you there. You need to avoid overdoing your strengths (and shore up your weaknesses), especially when you’re feeling stressed.
So, when are you strong to a fault? What leadership skills are you underutilizing these days? How well are you leading under pressure?
Read the rest of this article, and how to apply the XLM to help you eXpand, by clicking this link: http://davejensenonleadership.com/XLMHoweXceptionalLeadersAchieveeXtraordinaryResults.html
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